Himelfarb Hears a Hu
I have no idea who Hu is, nor if Horton heard about it. But this is the biggest acquisition Sandy Alderson and his fantasy front office have pulled off since the deft signing of D.J. Carrasco, so it must be important. That said, we are lucky to have Matt Himelfarb give us the down-low on the newest addition to the Mets’ 40-man roster. — Joe
Amid widespread protests from fans decrying the organization’s inaction, the Mets acquired infielder Chin-lung Hu from the Dodgers for southpaw Mike Antonini.
Hu, 27, hit .317/.332/.438 in 223 plate-appearances last year in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League last season. That translates to a .285/.310/.397 at Buffalo and a .247/.263/.329 line with the Mets. In 191 career big league PA’s, he has hit .191/.241/.283 . By all accounts, he is a very good defensive shortstop who can also play second, but his bat has precluded him from developing into an everyday player at the big league level.
Despite Hu’s defensive prowess, unless he puts on a legendary display during Spring Training, I don’t expect him to be seriously in the mix for the second base job. He is certainly behind Daniel Murphy, Brad Emaus, and Justin Turner on the depth chart, and there is only so much playing time to go around in March. Heck, it is hard to say he is much of an improvement over Ruben Tejada at this point.
Hu is, however, a potential backup option given his ability to shortstop. If Reyes’s health is an issue again, I would rather see Hu at short than call up Tejada, whose development is best suited at AAA.
Antonini, 25, went 8-12 with a 4.69 era. in 168.1 innings between Binghamton and Buffalo last season, striking out 131 and walking 23. He has posted some decent numbers and shown impressive control, but his stuff fringy. He could develop into a decent loogy, although he has actually performed better against right-handed hitters than lefties.
Overall, this trade will probably not amount to much more than a wash, but I see some upside for the Mets. At the very least, Hu will come $1.5 million bucks cheaper than Alex Cora.